The scene starts on the streets of Los Angeles and after the films leads are given their instructions they take their 3 MINI Coopers to the pavements, dodging passers-by before heading down into the Hollywood Highland Metro Station. From there the 3 cars avoid passengers and the approaching train, demonstrating their intense driving skills and near-miss ability. This is made all the more impressive considering CGI was used very sparingly. To keep the cameras almost constantly moving the film’s director, F. Gary Gray, frequently used dollies, as well as Steadicams and a Technocrane.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
As the mass of vehicles descend onto the barren dessert, there’s a lot of action taking place at incredible speed – from characters jumping between vehicles, guns shooting and 20-foot polecats to leaking fuel tanks, fight sequences and zip wires – that adds an unbelievable layer of chaos to the scene. The directors didn’t rely on camera angles or skilled edits to wow the audience, the sequence has been exquisitely executed and incredibly CGI wasn’t heavily used.
Jason Bourne (2016)
With an impressive team – including Paul Greengrass (director), Simon Crane (second unit director) and Gary Powell (stunt coordinator) – behind Jason Bourne (2016), it’s no surprise it features on our list. The scene takes place on the busy Las Vegas strip and features a 3-way chase between the police, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and Asset (Vincent Cassel). The detailed sequence includes a massive car pileup, endless driving manoeuvres and jumps, as well as Bourne’s car mounting the SWAT van and ends with a car driving into a casino. Greengrass revealed in an article for The Verge he believes they ruined 160 cars throughout the shoot.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Unsurprisingly, the Wachowskis’ freeway car chase in The Matrix Reloaded (2003) doesn’t disappoint. It features the cast leaping between cars, slow motion car flips, guns, fight sequences, explosions and Trinity jumping from a bridge and landing onto a moving vehicle. In fact, a fake freeway was built on a disused naval base in Alameda, California costing £1.25m, plus more than 100 cars were donated for the scene and all were ruined. Most importantly CGI wasn’t used a lot, for example when Agent Johnson jumped onto the bonnet of a speeding car and crushed it, it is, in fact, a real-time stunt.
Fate of the Furious (2017)
Just as every other Fast and Furious film delivers over-the-top, unrealistic, block-buster sequences, Fate of the Furious does all this and more. Firstly, the cars driven by the cast include a 1966 Corvette, Mercedes AMG GT, Bentley GT BR9 Coupe and a Subaru BRZ. The team chase Dom throughout New York City, dodging pedestrians, falling scaffolding and hundreds of cars dropping from 100-feet in the air. In a Vanity Fair interview F. Gary Gray advises it took weeks to plan and shoot the scene as you can’t go more than 10-mph anywhere in Manhattan. He also insists that what appears on the screen was largely real action, not just C.G.I.
Baby Driver (2017)
The Baby Driver opening sequence is probably one of the more relaxed car chases on the list, but it packs a stylish punch. Edgar Wright revealed he wrote the scene to the song (Bellbottoms by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) and tried to time the action to the beats of the song. The scene was executed by the second unit director, Darrin Prescott, and includes a police chase, sharp turns, skilled manoeuvres and devious trickery. The obstacle-filled alleyway is a standout sequence in the scene, and impressively this was completed in real life by stuntman Jeremy Fry.
Black Panther (2018)
For most of the South Korean car chase the Black Panther surfs on the roof of a deep blue Lexus LC 500 which is being driven remotely from his hideout in Africa. The chase was painstakingly planned by the film’s director Ryan Coogler and the cinematographer Rachel Morrison. It took nine days to shoot and was implemented by the second-unit director and stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott, with the help of Igor Meglic. The chase includes guns, spear throwing, slow motion car flips and spans markets, bridges and busy streets.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
As with all other Bond films the directorial and production teams pride themselves on creating real stunts and not relying on CGI, and this one is no different. The scene begins with the camera panning Lake Garda and zooms into a narrow road that winds across the mountain where we find Bond driving an Aston Martin DBS with a throaty V12 engine, while the villain is in an Alfa Romeo 159 with a 3.2-liter V6. Every sequence and stunt are sleek and skilled and keep the audience at the edge of their seats – from the fast-paced weaving and winding and crashes to the gun fights and vehicles falling off the side of cliffs.
Bad Boys II (2003)
Despite your feelings towards this film, you can’t deny the car chase scene is an exciting, over-the-top production. Michael Bay ensured it had all the elements of a classic, high speed chase – from guns, police chases and explosions to pileups, falling vehicles and fires – to wow all audience members.
The Dark Knight (2008)
What list would be complete without a super hero? Especially one with their own car that’s almost as famous as they are. Of course, we’re talking about Batman and the Batmobile. As an audience member, you feel claustrophobic and panicked watching the tunnel scene – adding to the anticipation of the whole event. The scene is dark and moody, fast-paced and eerie and features bazookas, flips and a whole host of skilled manoeuvres.